Welsh Government Opportunity: PhD Placement – Assessing the impact of highway drainage outfalls on the environment and water quality, and minimise the pollution they cause

The closing date for applications is Friday 27th October at 15:00hrs.

The Water and Flood Division of Welsh Government (WG) is seeking a PhD student for a placement opportunity within one of its teams.

Water team is responsible for developing bespoke policy for Wales for sustainably managing its water systems, including inland waters, estuaries and coastal waters. The team also oversees the effective functioning of Wales’ water industry and safeguards drinking water quality in line with statutory specifications.

The team‘s remit falls under the portfolio of the Minister for Climate Change which supports delivery objectives identified under primary legislation such as the Environment Act 2016 and Wellbeing of Future Generations Act 2015. The team works closely with a wide variety of internal and external stakeholders and representatives of the UK Government and the other Devolved Administrations. 


There are multiple challenges facing our water environment and the effective functioning of our water systems. Climate change, extreme weather events, increased pollution levels and population growth all present a high risk to the health of our waterbodies.

Highways drainage outfalls pollute surface and groundwater and are considered to be one of the biggest contributors to microplastic pollution found in our oceans. Highways drainage outfalls are numerous and drain independently of either sewage treatment works or Combined Storm Overflows (CSO). Despite their risk to water quality, we lack the understanding of their full impact. With climate change leading to increased periods of wet weather and heavy rainfalls, it is imperative that we assess the pollution risks highways drainage outfalls present and identify their distribution across Wales. Improving water quality in Wales is a key objective of the Welsh Government.

The post-holder will actively support the development of longer-term policy direction in addressing water pollution issues and assessing the impact of highways drainage outfalls.

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